Homey Community

Considering Vera Migration


#1

Hello all,
Long Post Apologies in advance, but just doing my due diligence in researching new hardware. Current Vera user and looking at possible migration. Had used automation way back in the X10 days but it just wasn’t reliable enough but when I discovered ZWave gear a couple of yrs back decided to have another try and found it to be great so ended up getting a VeraPlus as it was one of only options in Aus at the time and was relatively cheap (didn’t feel paying $1k+ for a Fibaro with only one non ZWavePlus radio was very futureproof).

While I have been overall reasonably happy with the Vera in terms of reliability/capability it is a pretty dated looking web console with almost no inbuilt logic support so you have to use plugins like PLEG/Reactor and a lot of the support for most of the HA goto DIY devices (Logitech Harmony etc) is all plugin based. What this means is that is makes for most time spent actually trying to figure out how you can implement logic using either LUA, Plugins and virtual switches and I tend to avoid setting up new automation as it seems to take way longer than it should. Enter possible migration to Homey, just wanting to get some community feedback if anyone has done similar migration and also going to list most of the devices / automation I already use to ensure compatibility.

Two minor general concerns;

  • Lack of actual LAN port, I generally prefer core devices hardwired. Non issue?

  • Also the 2.0 software update and blog post indicating the complete removal of web interface and move to mobile. I totally understand the rise of mobile but a web interface (which almost saves on dev these days by being Mac/Linux/Windows agnostic) seems a must have? Even mildly complex tasks are so much quicker on a full workstation, and it seems from recent Facebook posts the community share that concern?

Current Device Compatibility;

  • Core devices are mainly Aeotec Zwave including Screw in LED bulbs, Gen 5 Motion sensors, Smart Switch 6’s, Door Sensors, Quadmotes, Water Sensor?

  • Remotec 8 button switches

  • Logitech Harmony x 2 for upstairs and downstairs TV/Hifi control

  • Kodi for media centre x 3 through out the house

  • Imperihome dashboards x 3 through out the house

  • OpenSpinkler v3 (RasperryPi version) for Aquaponics/Retic control

  • Voice control via Alexa (weird delay with Vera which they admit is problem but haven’t resolved so I am forced to use Automation Bridge which itself is actually a great product but another possibly unnecessary work around)

  • Broadlink IR compatibility great as an option IR sender instead where a full blown Harmony hub is not required

  • QNAP Survellience station + HIKVision Cameras

Some other general questions;

  • Are there virtual switches available? Due to the way voice control works the language used for executing a scene is awkward so I often use a virtual switch to then execute a scene as the language used for switch on and off is much more natural

  • Unifi wifi compatibility/plugin ? There is a great plugin for Vera which I use for presence detection via phone presence on wifi, works great

  • Power use reporting?

  • Call scenes from http/api? One great thing about Vera is the ability to call a scene by http to call certain action is say Security camera software detects movement etc

  • LUA Scripting or equivalent?

  • Future integration of smoke sensors/alarms?

Apologies again for the long post, please feel free to reply regarding anything I haven’t directly addressed here that might be related to a migration.

thanks!


#2

First welcome @Rjay

I too am a former Vera user (only briefly) for the same reasons as you, Homey isn’t perfect, no device really is, however I have found it to be miles ahead of vera.

If you are looking for real feedback regarding the web interface then I suggest you talk to people who have upgraded their homey to v2 and have been using the app for several weeks. Rather then people who have just complained and declared Long Live the Desktop.

Lack of LAN port is a non issue for me, and I am more likely to get frustrated that bridges need it - ie what is the Hue bridge doing that it requires a gb connection to the internet.

I personally think the app is great, I have not however recreated any of my flows yet on it, as I have been busy. the really small amount of testing I have done for flows (4 flows) has gone well.

As for device support your best bet is to check each of the devices on the app store, as I doubt any one person has memorized it. However from my own personal experience Aeotec, harmony, Kodi, Alexa, Broadlink all work. And I am pretty cetain that Imperihome does not.

I hope this helps answer your questions.


#3

thanks for detailed response @Jamie

No problems, can live without the LAN port just like the reliability of it more than the throughput.

I know that there can be a tendency for ppl to to hate change but I am also conscious that change for the sake of progress isn’t necessarily innovation or a better solution. On the web console front I do feel that this would be a fairly substantial mistake, I just can’t see how writing “flows” and configuration from a mobile device (even a big screened one) can be anything but frustrating. For direct comparison Imperihome tablet dashboard is fairly wizard driven and easy to use app but the moment I look to do anything remotely more difficult that requires much typing/copy and paste etc etc I immediately look to setup a remote desktop session cos its just so damn slow or frustrating to do much more than tap/drag and drop. Also bit weird from a customer front, might pick up more general users but I don’t even know how effective that will be, SmartThings already have a fair bit of the non techy users who dont care about heavy cloud reliance market covered.

The rest looks like it should be decent, looks like Remotec switches is good, sounds like Aeotec I will have to double check that it covers all the Aus versions of the devices I have.

The http request part, I was meaning something like e.g. http://credentials:homeyipaddress/scenename could execute a homey scene so that it can be called from other applications etc :slight_smile:

thanks


#4

You shouldnt have to many issues with Aussie devices for fibaro/aeotec, there was a specific release for both just for us aussies, they are very quick to add the ids when one is found missing. However YMMV with other apps.

As I said, I haven’t set up my new flows yet, the mobile interface is more click and select rather than drag and drop (which was the old web interface), and if you really want a desktop for typing you can use the chrome andriod app emulator, a tablet version will be coming - later.

Hopefully someone who has created a few flows in v2 will comment. In my experience flows are not something you are constantly creating, once done they are done.

There was a REST api in version one, it was never really made public available before the webAPI replaced it, homey uses oAuth for security - so it wont be a simple matter of just calling a URL (like vera does) in order to control your homey.

Creating an end point inside homey is rather easy though ie:

 {
    method : 'GET',
    path   : '/library',
    fn     : async (args) => {
      return await Homey.app.library.getJSON();
    }
  },

#5

You can trigger flows and pass some data via http both locally and via a secure cloud url (https)


#6

Creating and modifying flows is not as bad as I thought it might be on the mobile device. Obviously the old desktop is better as you can see more and most things were only a few clicks.
I do like being able to make changes while out so having that is great but I wish it was an option rather than the only way.
Maybe Athom or a clever dev will be able to produce a web based flow editor. I guess the ideal place would be as part of the current developer section.


#7

#8

Yeh had noticed a few ppl were using an Android emulator, which would at least make copy/paste style operations easier etc.

@Jamie the GitHub link I assume is to a community project for a web based flow creator? Any screenshots of what that will look like?

The idea of a community based web console is definitely better than none at all but my major reason for looking to move from Vera was that the core components (logic, major device support etc) really needs to be supported in house. It’s one thing to have plugins for certain elements but half the issues with Vera are related to plugins that don’t work or aren’t updated and then some other community member than has to attempt to decipher the plugin and rework it etc.

What do ppl make of this thread;

Sounds like very similar situation to myself, in fact even sounds like he uses the same main vendor I do, the thing that swung me towards Homey was the consistent decent reviews as well as a solid GUI logic engine meaning I would be more likely to automate processes due to it taking less time. This sounds very much like he was struggling with compatibility and reliability issues?


#9

I have seen mention of this before but I have no idea how to start with it. It sounds like a good concept.
Is it installed on homey via the CLI or on a local server?
The files on Github don’t look like any other homey app I’ve seen so I presume it is run some other way?
I also remember there was an issue getting the homey key or something so has that been resolved or is it still a case of sniffing web transactions?

Maybe you could enhance the read me to include more instructions on how to use it?


#10

Your 100% correct as far a I am aware, the project was put on hold until v2. Its my understanding that there is also no timeline for allowing developers public oAUTH access, I linked it to show what might be possible.

no camera support - Luke is correct, there is no support for cameras at the moment. They will be coming after v2 is stable/secure.

The core logic is supported in house there is no ‘PLEG’ for homey.

Like all things you wont know until you try it, we (Australians) are pretty limited in our choices, RACV announced they are now selling smart things in Melbourne, though I doubt that it will give you the control you are used to. Otherwise - Vera, Fibaro or a more hands with a raspberry Pi and HASS or OpenHAB


#11

That could be indeed. As with all domotica solutions there are so many factors that could impact the overall working of it. I have to disagree with him saying:

What he actually meant was: "I don’t understand why people blindly jump to the defence of something we all know in some situations doesn’t do what it supposed to do.

Yes I had also my fair share of struggles but overall in the past 3 years ( I guess ) I have to say that things work. Keep in mind that Homey has certain range issues (that are also impacted by the situation…) and that certain devices are not fully compatible. But as said. It really depends on the situation.

Also regarding the flows and the lack of the UI interface in 2.x. I have to agree at first I was a bit hesitant to use it. But now I feel it works like I would. As already stated by @Jamie you aren’t building flows every day so it would only be a pain in the ass (so to speak) in the beginning of the adoption but after that. It shouldn’t.

Yesterday I installed 3 extra door sensors and had it running within a few minutes just by using the phone. So it can be done :slight_smile:


#12

What I actaully meant was…what I said


#13

I have bought one the smartthings hubs from RACV and although it is just the mesh system + smartthings and not the full hub, so far it is pretty great. There are Samsung plugins that cover most things, then there are community plugins, then you can modify community plugins or create your own. The coverage is huge and so is the flexibility.
Scripting can be done on the app or you can create a type of mini app on the web interface with logic built in.
I haven’t found anything that doesn’t have a plugin yet.
Z-wave coverage is very good and device and product codes can be changed on the fly.
Response times are instantaneous.
The apps leave a bit to be desired but they are in a transition phase, this is the way to go IMO if starting from scratch.
I will hold on a little longer and keep using both, I have a lot of devices and don’t look forward to another transition.


#14

Thanks for the replies everyone, finding them all useful. I was hoping that if I move to a new platform it will be something that will be reasonably long term as it is quite a bit mission doing a largish migration.

I was quite interested in @Luke_Fairbank experiences purely because of the similarity in situation and as it seemed to be quite the opposite of the generally ok user experiences. I had never really considered SmartThings due to not being keen on heavily cloud reliant hubs but it’s simplicity and likely future integration with truly smart Samsung home appliances is appealing.

As someone said it seems like there still isn’t quite one DIY Hub that gets the balance right between reliability, compatibility and ease of use and the commercial grade stuff is out of the question for most due to the difficulty of retrofit and huge costs.

As the FB countdown from Homey looks to be the announcement of 2.0 I might just wait a while and see what everyones experiences are before making a decision. In the meantime I have some spare hardware laying around including my original Gen5 ZWave stick that I first tested with so might even run up a trial of Homeseer. Interface looks as dated as when I used it back in the X10 days but ppl seem to say it just works.